Saturday, 11th May, 2013
St. David's Hall, Cardiff, the UK
Article and Photos By Jez Rowden
A packed house turned out on yet another wet and windy evening in Cardiff to see Steve Hackett's long anticipated Genesis Revisited Tour arrive in town.
The Holy Grail for many in attendence would be a full reformation of the Peter Gabriel led band that produced so many wonderful recordings
in the early '70s but as that now appears a forlorn hope it seems to be left to Steve to come up with the goods.
As the most prog-affiliated Genesis man he can always be relied upon and it is to be hoped that, playing to the larger audiences that he is on this tour,
some of the crowd may stick around for his future solo work.
That said most in attendence seemed to be purely there for the Genesis experience so we'll have to wait and see.
So, was the anticipation justified?
Oh yes, and then some as Steve and his immaculate band put on a stunning show, but more of that later.
Firstly, it was an unexpected treat to see Panic Room's Anne-Marie Helder stroll onto the stage to give us half a dozen or
so of her yet to be recorded solo numbers.
A different experience from what was to follow but very entertaining nonetheless, her songs have a distinct beauty about them and were delivered with passion.
Anne-Marie is always worth seeing in whatever guise she happens to be in and this was a new one for me but bodes well for the eventual release of these songs.
It's nice to see her getting some exposure on a tour such as this and she was on hand at the merch stand after the gig to chat with old and new fans alike.
When the lights finally dimmed for the main event of the evening there was a ripple of excitement that was completely justified by the wonderful
stage lighting and clarity of the sound that greeting the familiar Melotron intro to Watcher of the Skies.
I doubt that there's a better way to start a show of classic Genesis and Roger King, long-time stalwart of Hackett's band,
did it full justice in his typical unfussy and perfectly polished way.
With the rest of the band in shadow, the impressive spotlight stage effects fitted perfectly.
Nad Sylvan, lately of Agents of Mercy with Roine Stolt, took the vocal for most of the songs and started the show in a floor length coat but
there were numerous costume changes throughout the evening that, together with his animated performance,
added much to the theatricality of the material without it becoming a parody of Peter Gabriel's tenure with the band.
And that for me is the key element of this show; it is not a tribute, parody or pale imitation but a repetoire of astonishingly vibrant material
that in no way sounds dated. Modern technology and equipment allows the songs to sparkle in a way that they never would have in their heyday.
Hackett has turned them from relics of a much-loved bygone era into a show that finally does them full justice.
This show is about the songs and not the personel and it struck me that it still would have worked even if Hackett himself,
long-standing keeper of the Prog end of the Genesis catalogue after the rest of the band have striven to distance themselves from it, had not been present,
brilliant as it was to see him centre stage playing these songs.
In the same way as classical music has managed to escape the personality of its composers this show proved that the repertoire of songs can,
and indeed should, survive those who originally created it, being re-interpreted for the benefit and pleasure of future generations.
This may only be a pipedream but hopefully there will be a grain or two of posibility about it.
The set stopped at every Genesis album from Nursery Cryme to Wind and Wuthering and was a perfect encapsulation of what Hackett brought to that era of the band's history. Most of the songs chosen featured a fair amount of guitar but, as stated, this was about the material so much more than Hackett himself and he let his band do the talking for the most part. It only goes to show what a full Genesis reunion could have been but I suspect that were such a thing to have happened it would have been watered down somewhat by commercial constraints.
Not so here as Hackett gave the classic Genesis officianados exactly what they wanted.
It was particularly nice to hear the often marginalised Wind and Wuthering songs and the flow of the evening was spot on; an enthralling performance.
Nad made full use of steps at the back of the stage between drums and keys to rise above the band and perform in a striking and theatrical style that suited
the songs. A couple of the songs were sung by drummer Gary O'toole, most noticeably the ones he has been singing on Hackett's solo tours over the last few years,
Blood on the Rooftops and Broadway Melody of 1974, and he did a fine job as usual.
It added to the variety with the vocals being shared between Sylvan and O'Toole and with Nad coming and going from the stage when
required the theatricality built nicely.
As for the rest of the band Lee Pomeroy was fantastic, his left-handed Rickenbaker bass strung upside-down, and he deployed that progiest of guitars,
the double-kneck, and devastating bass pedals - a set of which have gone onto my Christmas list as a result although I don't think the fabric of
my home could cope with their all obliterating bassness.
Marvellous! Sax and flute man Rob Townsend added greatly where he was required and also doubled on keys to help out King here and there.
In his fallow spells he added some spot on rhythm banana, which he comically ate near the end of the set.
Roger King is an extraordinary talent and pulled off all his parts with quiet aplomb while it's fair to say that Gary O'Toole probably succeeded
in surpassing the levels that Phil Collins would have achieved in his heyday.
Hackett himself looked slightly more frail amongst his younger band mates than last time I'd seen him but his playing was spot on.
He did not impose himself on the proceedings but spoke now and again and was happy to take a backseat for the band and songs to shine.
This is the mark of a man who is not only at home with his talents but enthusastic about the reason for doing such a show and this is what made it all so special.
Standing ovations were frequent throughout the evening, particularly after The Musical Box and Supper's Ready
and the support and enthusiasm of the audience was inspriring.
This is material that people want to hear and I doubt that it could have been presented any better.
No special guests for this evening's show unlike some others on the tour but it did not matter at all.
With the two and a half hour show completed we got encores of the expected Firth of Fifth with that solo and then a re-worked version of
Los Endos incorporating some solo Hackett in the form of a section of Slogans from his Defector album.
The songs throughout were not rigidly delivered but allowed to flow but this song is where a full variation was included, a fine way to end a spectacular show.
I doubt that I'll ever see a more impressive Genesis related event and having seen some of the Genesis tribute acts that do the rounds
this show was certainly not one to be included in their ranks.
It's all about the songs and they have been dragged screaming into the new millenium by this stunning band.
A must see.
Watcher of the Skies
The Chamber of 32 Doors
Dancing With the Moonlit Knight
Fly on a Windshield
Broadway Melody of 1974
The Musical Box
Blood on the Rooftops
Unquiet Slumbers for the Sleepers...
...In That Quiet Earth
I Know What I Like
Dance on a Volcano
Eleventh Earl of Mar
Firth of Fifth
Steve Hackett official Website
DPRP's Review of "Beyond The Shrouded Horizon"
St. David's Hall